Community land trusts

Meeting: 
Plenary on 2014-01-15
Session date: 
January 15, 2014
Reference: 
2014/0002
Question By: 
Jenny Jones
Organisation: 
City Hall Greens
Asked Of: 
Boris Johnson (Chairman, LLDC) & Dennis Hone (Chief Executive, LLDC)

Question

Will you deliver your manifesto promise to make part of the Chobham Manor site a community-led development through a Community Land Trust?

Answer

Answer for Community land trusts

Answer for Community land trusts

Answered By: 
Boris Johnson (Chairman, LLDC) & Dennis Hone (Chief Executive, LLDC)

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London and Chairman, LLDC):  The answer is yes, but I want to stress that this is not something that is easy.  I just want to caution you against expecting a very rapid emergence of white smoke.

 

There are two problems that must be overcome.  One is just the cost and the loss of receipts to the public purse and to the LLDC involved in the community land trust (CLT) on the Chobham Manor site.  The second, in my mind, is the slight legal tangle about enfranchisement and how you make sure that the right to buy does not kick in whatever instruments you set up.  Those things being solvable, we are going to go ahead.

 

Jenny Jones AM:  I am concerned because I have seen what the LLDC has said about other means of developing community leadership in the management of homes.  That means that you are losing out, in a sense, on the two things that make CLTs so useful for London.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London and Chairman, LLDC):  You are jumping the gun.  I think I understand what you are anxious about.

 

Jenny Jones AM:  Really?

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London and Chairman, LLDC):  The LLDC is keen to explore all types of community involvement but I, as the Chair, am content that we should still keep on the table a full CLT as I think you understand it and support it.

 

Jenny Jones AM:  That does involve the community in designing the project and also, as you have suggested, selling it to them.  It is a way of achieving one of your other aims, which is to keep a good balance of tenure in London.  At least I hope that is one of your other aims.  It means that you would keep some affordable housing not just until it is sold the first time but in perpetuity.

 

I am very sorry, Dennis and Neale.  I just do not want to hear from you because I know you know the answers and the Mayor might not know the answers.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London and Chairman, LLDC):  Is the purpose of this conversation to elucidate the public or as a kind of exam for me?  What are you trying to do?

 

Jenny Jones AM:  I am very disappointed that you have not yet honoured your election promise.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London and Chairman, LLDC):  Chobham Manor has not yet been built.  If you go down to the Olympic Park, you will observe that it is not yet constructed.

 

Jenny Jones AM:  Your LLDC has dropped the commitment on Chobham Manor.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London and Chairman, LLDC):  No, that is not true and I cannot allow you to make that claim without correcting it.

 

Jenny Jones AM:  It is in their minutes.  Anyway, at the moment you are procuring developers for the East Wick site and the Sweetwater site.  Would you perhaps make sure that those agreements have a condition that they work with local communities and that part of those sites has a CLT?

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London and Chairman, LLDC):  They will certainly work with local communities.

 

Jenny Jones AM:  That is not what I asked, is it?

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London and Chairman, LLDC):  You are asking me for two more CLTs on the Sweetwater and East Wick sites.

 

Jenny Jones AM:  If you are not going to do it properly.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London and Chairman, LLDC):  We are dealing with the manifesto commitment that I have made and that I intend to honour, which is to do a CLT at Chobham Manor.  I propose to fulfil that pledge before I make any more pledges to you.

 

Jenny Jones AM:  Would you keep your mind open to it?  Of course, it does mean that we have affordable homes in perpetuity, which is very difficult in any other way.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London and Chairman, LLDC):  We are going to have 2,000 affordable homes on this site ‑‑

 

Jenny Jones AM:  Not in perpetuity.  That is the problem.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London and Chairman, LLDC):  As you know, there is a legal problem about the perpetual nature of the CLT anyway and it has not yet been fully tested in law whether the CLT provisions override the right to buy.  That is one of the problems we have.

 

Jenny Jones AM:  They are done in loads of other countries.  In Canada, 12% of the housing stock is in CLTs.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London and Chairman, LLDC):  Unfortunately, this is Britain.  This is not Vermont.  We must work with the law that we have in this country rather than ‑‑

 

Jenny Jones AM:  Why did you make the manifesto promise if you knew that it was complicated?  Did you make it in ignorance?

 

Darren Johnson AM (Chair):  A quick answer because the Green Group is now running out of time.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London and Chairman, LLDC):  As you know, unlike the previous Mayor whose boots you licked, we have delivered London’s first CLT in St Clement’s and ‑‑

 

Jenny Jones AM:  You struggled.

 

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London and Chairman, LLDC):  We struggled and we succeeded -

and we are still pushing on to fulfil what I said was my manifesto commitment to deliver a second CLT on the Chobham Manor site.  I know that if and when it happens it will be greeted by Jenny with great hosannas and acclaim, which will be a change, actually.

 

Jenny Jones AM:  It will.  A bit of a surprise.

 

Darren Johnson AM (Chair):  Thank you.  We will then move on to the third question on the order paper.